How Can We Celebrate Communion When Our Churches Start Gathering Again?


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One of the most challenging aspects of returning to corporate worship will be figuring out how to celebrate communion in this pandemic time. “Passing the plate” with open wine cups and exposed bread no longer seems a viable option to distribute the elements, at least in the near future. 9Marks surveyed several pastors to see how they intended on serving communion once their church starts gathering again. From that survey, pastors seem to be pursuing one of three options for communion distribution.


Some churches are choosing to order individually pre-packaged communion sets that include both juice and bread.

These prepackaged sets allow for a variety of distribution options:

  • Volunteers wearing masks and gloves place them on seats before the start of service.
  • Communion sets are placed in a common area. Members are encouraged to grab a set off the table while remaining socially distant from one another. Pastors may want to consider having multiple tables set up in different areas to maintain social distancing more easily.


Some churches will distribute the supper by asking members to come forward and receive the elements. The person distributing the elements will wear a mask and gloves. As members come toward the front to receive the elements, pastors will instruct members to remain socially distant and may perhaps invite members to come to the front one row or family cluster at a time.


Another distribution option is known as “double stacking,” where a cracker is put into a cup with a second cup, filled with juice, nestled over the top. Thus, members only touch their own nested-cup set.

Pastors suggested a number of distribution options:

  • Members filter to the front of the auditorium where a pastor, elder, or usher with a mask and gloves hands a cup-set to each member.
  • Ask members to sit in every other row. Ask a masked and gloved usher to walk down each empty row distributing a cup-set to each individual in the row behind.
  • Pre-place nested cup sets in the communion cup holes in the pew-backs

Disclaimer: These are simply some of the best practices recommended by faithful pastors. None of these communion distribution options are endorsed by the CDC.

Sam Emadi

Sam Emadi is senior pastor at Hunsinger Lane Baptist Church in Louisville, KY.

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